Potential relationship between eGFRcystatin C /eGFRcreatinine -ratio and glomerular basement membrane thickness in diabetic kidney disease

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Diabetic kidney disease (DKD) is a leading cause of end-stage renal disease and renal replacement therapy worldwide. A pathophysiological hallmark of DKD is glomeru- lar basal membrane (GBM) thickening, whereas this feature is absent in minimal change disease (MCD). According to fundamental transport physiological principles, a thicker GBM will impede the diffusion of middle-molecules such as cystatin C, potentially leading to a lower estimated GFR (eGFR) from cystatin C compared to that of creatinine. Here we test the hypothesis that thickening of the glomerular filter leads to an increased diffusion length, and lower clearance, of cystatin C. Twenty- nine patients with a kidney biopsy diagnosis of either DKD (n = 17) or MCD (n = 12) were retrospectively included in the study. GBM thickness was measured at 20 sepa- rate locations in the biopsy specimen and plasma levels of cystatin C and creatinine were retrieved from health records. A modified two-pore model was used to simulate the effects of a thicker GBM on glomerular water and solute transport. The mean age of the patients was 52 years, and 38% were women. The mean eGFRcystatin C/ eGFRcreatinine-ratio was 74% in DKD compared to 98% in MCD (p < 0.001). Average GBM thickness was strongly inversely correlated to the eGFRcystatin C/eGFRcreatinine- ratio (Pearson's r = −0.61, p < 0.01). Two-pore modeling predicted a eGFRcystatin C/ eGFRcreatinine-ratio of 78% in DKD. We provide clinical and theoretical evidence sug- gesting that thickening of the glomerular filter, increasing the diffusion length of cys- tatin C, lowers the eGFRcystatin C/eGFRcreatinine-ratio in DKD.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere14939
JournalPhysiological Reports
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Jul 9

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Urology and Nephrology


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